Ohio region sees huge jump in opioid-related overdose deaths

CINCINNATI - The number of overdose deaths in one Southwest Ohio country has nearly doubled over the last four years.

The Hamilton County, Ohio coroner's office recorded 100 more opiate-related overdose deaths in 2016 than 2015, its coroner publicly announced this week. Coroner Dr. Lakshmi Sammarco also said 342 of the 403 overdoses in 2016 involved at least one kind of opiate.

In 2015, 414 people died from an overdose, she said — and she estimates 240 of those involved opiates.

Overdose deaths have jumped from 204 in 2012 to 403 in 2016, according to data from the Hamilton County Coroner's Office.

The coroner's office has already recorded hundreds of overdoses in the first four months of 2017.

"This year to date, we already have 221 suspected drug overdoses in Hamilton County," Sammarco said.

The overdose statistics, Sammarco said, represent people who have died in Hamilton County. Not all of the numbers represent county residents.

Sammarco said Narcan has saved a "considerable" amount of people in Hamilton County over the last several years.

The availability of the drug — whether it be with family members or first responders -- has helped curb opiate-related overdose deaths, she said.

In 2015, first responders administered 2,000 doses (or 4,700 milligrams) of Narcan in Hamilton County, according to the Cincinnati Fire Department. First responders used 6,500 milligrams in 2016, Sammarco said.

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